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UNITED FREE METHODIST CHURCHES

The United Free Methodist church was formed in 1857 following the Union of the Wesleyan Association and the Wesleyan Reformers. They picked up members quickly in Bristol especially in the South and East of the city.

Ashton Gate

1875 this one long since demolished I guess.

Berkeley Road, Bishopston

1865. Initially only body of chapel. With west venetian window and tall square headed windows. Then the tower was built. Very unusual style with several stages and four clock faces with small arches below. Rather a skilful construction with a slate spire on top. The church was given a oddly placed transept in same style as church. Inside it had a large organ and a gallery (now at Horfield Methodist). Closed 1959 and very badly mutilated as a car exhaust centre - there should be a case for preserving tower as part of the street scape.

Bethel (Clouds Hill Rd)

1858 small box of a building with pediment and sash windows. Had a organ and west gallery and pulpit. Painted very bright colours in the 1960's. Became St George Methodist church when the congregation from Victoria & Salem both in St George joined with Bethel. Closed in 1989 when it united with Clowes. Now it serves as a gym.

Bethesda (Church Road / Avonvale Road, Redfield)

The church opened on 18 Aug 1869 on land known as Lyppiatts Leaze which had been donated by William Stone, a successful hay and straw dealer who lived in Redfield House. 12 years later Stone provided more land from his estate for the building of a Sunday School; this opened in April 1883 on the opposite corner of Avonvale Road and was built in a matching style.

Bethesda was a rather grand romanesque style building in rubblestone. It cost 2130 and could seat 650 and school accomodation for 750. The church closed in 1999 due to structural problems and now meets in the former school room (right). The church was demolished in a matter of days early 2003, catching Phil without pictures.

The picture on the left taken by Sue Stead (who wasn't caught out) and used with her kind permission..

Brandon (Jacobs Wells Road)

Built 1898 cost 2,382. Now a Buddhist centre and Martial Arts School. It has a random rubble gothic front with porch, brick sides with lancets and school tacked on. Built on to hill side just down from Constitution Hill.

Brookland - see Independent Methodist Page (Joined UFM in 1914)

Clay Hill Chapel (Clay Hill/Chapel Lane)

Built 1813 rebuilt 1867. Small building with pediment and two west sash windows. Last services were in the early 1960's. Chapel Lane remains as part of the Fishponds Trading Estate but chapel demolished, "at Christmas in 1962" according to Ann Brooks' grandmother who wrote on the back of this photograph which Ann kindly sent to me.

Crews Hole (Crews Hole Rd/Troopers Hill Road)

1853 - 1988, congregation joined with Clowes. Small classic building in very picturesque setting. Had a small west gallery and tiny organ. Suffered a fire and has since become housing along with adjoining Sunday school buildings.

Eastville Park

Founded early in 1837 when property developer Thomas Slocombe built a mission room alongside his two new cottages in Freeland Buildings (left). Thomas died in 1867 and although records do not exist pre 1888 it is widely believed that his widow Ann was the principle benefactor of new premises.

A new church was built in 1872 on Fishponds Road at the top of Muller Road which could seat 250 people, with a vestry at the rear which also served as a Sunday school. More housing was built around the church and an extension was necessary in 1879 when the Lower Hall or Assembly Hall as it was known was built, and two more classrooms built in 1893.

This church again was too small and was rebuilt 1901-2 in a large gothic style. The architect was Henry M Bennett. Lovely decorated west front with huge west porch and west towerlets. Side aisles have cusped Y tracery. Beautiful interior with huge widespan roof and galleries and east organ. A superior building which was in use until 1997 when it was decided to sell. The building now belongs to a Pentecostal church and the former congregation now uses secular premises for worship.

Easton Road

1879. Not sure where this one stood, maybe the Iceland Supermarket is now on the site? David Dawson took this photograph in 1976, used with permission.

Eden Grove, Horfield

A late gothic building of 1929 in matchstick gothick with a low porch and wide four pointed arched west window. The church has shallow transepts and Tudor style windows. The interior of the church - bright with a old organ from the former Milk Street church which was demolished about the time Eden Grove opened. Brookland Chapel was instrumental in the establishing of this church (ref - Brookland Diamond Jubilee booklet, 1948).

Fernbank Road , Redland

Built in 1876 to the designs of architect Henry Crisp who worked with Oatley. Similar to Hebron in Bedminster with huge windows pediment and pilasters and a wooden and plaster very wide span roof. Cost 5000, seated 400 and had school rooms on the back. Very ornate structure. Now converted into office use, and very tastefully done.

Fishponds - Ebenezer Methodist (Fishponds Road/Station Ave)

Built 1880 and cost 1847. Large gothic building with big recessed entrance originally with tripartite arches. Large three-light west window flanked by single lights and low flanking stair turrets to galleries. The side windows are lancets with varied tracery in the heads. The gable end of the chapel had a clock and bellcote. For this reason the church was known locally as the "Clock Chapel". Facing large repair bills, the offer to join Trinity nearby in a new church project meant a swift closure with both congregations worshipping at Trinity for two more years.

The Clock Chapel closed in February 1964 and was for many years a tyre centre. In May 2004 it was leased short term for secondhand car sales, and according to the couple running the business the building is scheduled for demolition. Lucky I visited when I did, and with their permission took this interior shot showing the west windows and the gallery resting on iron piers still in situ.

Frenchay: Providence (Chapel Lane - S.Glos)

1887 Total cost 3200. Small classic chapel with only two windows now survives as a house next to a footpath. It did have a simple wooden porch.

Hanham (Hanham Road - S.Glos)

Built 1851 enlarged 1903. Seats 250. Now Hanham Methodist church. Altered again in 1978 , when a new front was built, with a entrance vestibule at the rear. The interior was re-ordered, the altar is placed now against the long wall and the seats arranged horseshoe-shaped around them. Organ case in the diagonal. Old stained glass windows now inside the church in panels, which presumably can be illuminated.

Hebron (Hebron Road)

Built 1854 in a very grand and ornate classic style. Two levels of windows. Huge west front with pilasters and excellent stonework and a small pediment. The side has huge round windows. The church has a grave yard set amongst miners terraces. The Methodists vacated the premises in 1968 and after years of neglect the church became Bedminster Spiritualist church. It was sold off 2002 when the Spiritualists moved to smaller premises. Converted into flats in the same year. There is a battle to preserve the graveyard, burial place of "Princess Cariboo" - see the website which also has a fuller history of the church.

(Click on picture to go to website)

John Millard Memorial (Chessel Street)

Built 1900. Red brick gothic by Oatley - very small. Now sold to the Boys Brigade and Girls Brigade and is used as their HQ for the area. (Thanks to Phillip Warrey for this information)

Milk Street

Built 1853. Closed in 1929 and the members joined Old King Street Wesleyan, one of the first amalgamations of a United Methodist and Wesleyan Society inbefore the complete union of 1932. It was demolished in the 1930's. The organ is now at Eden Grove methodist.

Morley Street, Russell Town

The description that stood on this page prior to 26th Feb 2006 is patently wrong (and could be a description of Russel Town Congregational church the more I think of it) as this day I received the picture to the left from Pauline at the Barton hill History Group.

If anyone has dates for this church please send them. Maybe the date Neil had is correct - 1869?

.

Newtown

Built 1855 cost 2600

Oxford Street, Totterdown

1875 - cost 1580. Long since demolished lancet chapel with a ministers house with quirky windows.
Potters Wood, Kingswood (Hanham Road-S.Glos)

Built 1893, rebuilt in 1957. Still in use (left)

St Anne's Park

1899 cost 3950 to seat 250 - not sure if still standing.

Salem, Bedminster Down

1892 small classic building with sash windows.Stands in Trafalgar Street, close to Parson Street Station, and well-known for having "screaming headline notices" posted on its facade to be visible from the main A38.

Salem, Lower Ashley Road

A nice gothic chapel from 1853, one of the three churches which joined together in the area (Brookland and Wesley were the others) which resulted in Parkway Methodist (see post-union churches page) by the M32. Demolished.

Southville

The original chapel and buildings survive alongside the present day Southville Methodist church in Stackpool Road built in the 1930s in a simplified Gothic.

Soundwell (Soundwell Rd - S.Glos)

1862 cost 3700. Nice low loosely classic building with a arched west front. Interior simple with plaster ceiling and adjoining very odd gothic school buildings - due for demolition (Sept 2000).

Tyler's Fields (Wesley Place)

Built 1854 - never located this one . It may be the chapel building in Wesley Place near The Downs.

Wesley - Spring Place

1851 - where was this one?

Westbury On Trym (Trym Road)

1869 in the former Baptist chapel beneath parish church. Built 1840's in a lancet style with adjoining cottages as schools. Very popular. Has triple west and east lancets very pretty building. Used as a labour exchange since the 30's and in the 1980's became 'The Beacon' gospel church.

Whiteshill (Nr Winterbourne - S.Glos)

Built 1886 - not sure where this one is - it is not Whiteshill congregational.

Zion (Kingswood High Street - but stands within Bristol City boundary)

Built 1855. Huge grand edifice in definite classic style and with two levels. Front has a pediment and three large windows and nice use of stone work. Had a famous choir in its heyday. This church held the last Conference of the United Free Methodists in 1932. The church is now Kingswood Methodist and was been sub-divided in 1988.

Research by Neil Marchant and Phil Draper

If anyone can help with additional information / history of any of these churches, or any have any photographs please get in touch.

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page last updated 30th April 2014